Monday, May 30, 2011

Took a little trip on a Pirate Ship ...

Continuing along with the Summer 2011 movie viewing, next on deck is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the latest installment to the blockbuster film franchise starring Johnny Depp. With the previous movie, At World's End, being rather ... bleh, could anyone really expect much from what is easily the most blatant show of Hollywood Farmers milking their prize Cash Cow? No. Would you then be surprised by the outcome? Very!

My friend Wendi says that she did not miss Orlando Bloom nor Keira Knightley at all, and I completely agree. In all honestly, they were the least interesting aspects the previous films, except from when they played off of Depp's Jack Sparrow, so whatever void they left was easily filled by newcomer to the series, Penelope Cruz as Angelica Malon, who may or may not be the daughter of Blackbeard, played by Ian McShane, and the always awesome Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa, stepping into a more central character role.

Spanish sailors discover a trail to what could possibly be the Fountain of Youth, legacy of famed explorer Ponce de Leon, and when the British catch wind, they immediately dispatch Barbossa, now a captain in the British Navy, to procure the spoils in their name.  Also on the hunt is the dread pirate Blackbeard who seeks the Fountain for his own means, with the haplessly uber effective Jack Sparrow dragged along for the ride and thrust into the middle of the conflict.

Pirates 4 found a BIG return to what made the 1st film so good. Tons of swashbuckling, SUPER funny without crossing that line into eye-rolling obnoxiousness, the magical with hints of historical reference, and Jack Sparrow being Jack Sparrow. Everyone was terrific, from the major to the minor, and the 3D was EXCELLENT. The best live-action use of the tech since Avatar.

So the verdict? I Loved it. Great use of story and effects to make you wish you were out at the high seas on some crazy adventure alongside Jack and crew. Loved the return old characters like Barbossa as well as the new like McShane's sinister Blackbeard, who made an outstanding villain. The only small gripe may have been the running time. Pushing 2 and half hours, they could have shaved a bit off and tightened it up, but otherwise? Definitely on par with the 1st two Pirates films, and is going to be tough to beat this summer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to deal with a Sex Robot

Apparently, this summer, cities across the nation are being infested by a new threat which is more horrific than both Bed Bugs AND the Homeless. Yep ... Sex Robots. They're coming to your town. But the good news is that there ARE ways of handling them, but that is a task best left to Law Enforcement professionals. You should watch this instructional video.

*Warning* - the monster's song is dangerously catchy and you WILL be singing it everywhere you go ...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thor - Savory Start to the Summer movie Seasoning?

The Mighty Thor was always one of my favorite Marvel super heroes. God ... Avenger ... Guy with feathers on his hat ... So just the very IDEA of a feature length picture with him as the star is an awesome one to me. However ... It feels like there's been a LOT of live action comic book movies thrown at us lately. And you can't help but worry that the films are now just being churned out as quickly as possible to only barely satiate the audience and grab some profit from their pockets while there's still some interest ... without regard to effort or quality ... I think it's a reasonable concern. So, admittedly, I went into the movie, not 'skeptical', but 'wary'.

Thankfully? I was very pleasantly surprised. The basic plot is straightforward enough, as it should be with a comic book based film. Thor, played extremely well by Chris Hemsworth, the God of Thunder, and rightful heir to the throne of Asgard, is stripped of his power and banished to Earth after his stubbornness and rash actions put Asgard on the brink of war with their ancient enemies the Frost Giants. Not to give TOO much away from that point, but he meets some humans, learns some lessons, and engages in a healthy share of fisticuffs throughout. And much like the Iron Man films, Thor is also poised as a prelude the Avengers movie coming out in 2012.

FYI - This isn't the FIRST time the Thunderer has appeared on film!

Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988)

But it's easily the best. The special effects are incredible. Even the 3D was solid enough. Everything Asgard (of which about 70% of movie takes place) was done beautifully. Populate it with stellar fight scenes and praiseworthy characterizations of these mythical icons? Anthony Hopkins as Odin to Idris Elba as Heimdall were terrific, but the best all around was Tom Hiddleston as Thor's mischievous brother Loki. True to form, you could never quite tell what the Trickster God was thinking or had up his sleeve, but you could clearly gather, even in the scenes where he says nothing at all, the strength and complexity of his motivations.

At 2 hours and change running time, the movie is a sturdy length, with one of the few criticisms being the lack of time afforded the "romance" of Thor and Jane Foster, played by ... *yawn* ... Natalie Portman. They met, she watched him fight, he listened to what she had to say, and then they were in love. They COULD have made more of his time on Earth, but then the movie would have to have pushed at least the 2 and HALF hour mark, perhaps making the audience a bit restless.

the rating system:

  • Loved it - one of the best movies I've seen in a long time and worth every cent of the ticket price. I can't state enough how much u need to go see this movie ...

  • Liked it - it was an enjoyable flick for the most part and I'm glad I watched it. Will I run out to buy it when released on video? ... Probably not.

  • Leave it - ranging from the truly forgettable to the "wait a minute ... that didn't make any sense" in the 1st 5 minutes after I leave the theater. Basically - a whole lotta nothin.

  • Loathed it - a movie that literally makes me ANGRY after I exit and for days and weeks after. Angry that I wasted my time and money, and angry that such a piece of shit was ever made and that people actually received payment to do so.

  • the verdict:

    Loved it. Watch for Jane's assistant Darcy, played by Kat Dennings, as the scene stealer among the humans (she's flawless and can do no wrong in my eyes), but every Asgardian impresses in every single way. Also cool are the Frost Giants and the shiny mechanical monster - the Destroyer. One of the most enjoyable and satisfying adaptations of all the Marvel franchises to date. I'd even go so far as to say the best Marvel film, period, 2nd only to Spiderman 2.

    ... Yeah, I said it.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    ok, I'm going to be UPFRONT with you ...

    Finally, I'm able to give an EWLYD style recap of my SECOND favorite TV Season (behind Fall season, of course) --

    Broadcast Upfront Season!

    For those of you that know what that is - good for you. For those that don't - you need to get with the program. The long and short of it is: TV networks, in this case - the main 5 Broadcast Nets - ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and ... *cough*  CW - hold big ol' presentations in the advertising mecca that is NYC, showing off what they have on tap for next season. "Please spend your money and place your ads in our shows ..." yadda, yadda, yadda. You get it, right? Cool. We're all up to speed.

    I'm not going to give you a FULL read out of every new show and what they are about. You can find that here - Cynthia's Cynopsis Upfront info But I will let you know what each net is bringing to the table, and some of the more interesting things of note.

    ABC Fall 2011 Primetime Schedule

    Monday: Dancing with the Stars, Castle
    Tuesday: Last Man Standing, Man Up, Dancing with the Stars Results Show, Body of Proof
    Wednesday: The Middle, Suburgatory, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Revenge
    Thursday: Charlie's Angels, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice
    Friday: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Shark Tank, 20/20
    Saturday: Saturday Night College Football
    Sunday: America's Funniest Home Videos, Once Upon a Time, Desperate Housewives, Pan Am

    EASILY, the thing I care most about is the new show Pan Am on Sundays, which I discussed in February  Remember?? I still feel the same way. So happy I get to see my darling Christina Ricci now week after week ... And what's more - the show actually looks pretty ok ... Take a look!

    Other things to care about from ABC - The Outstanding Wednesday night Comedy Lineup remains almost entirely intact. The Middle, Modern Family, and the return of this year's mid-season addition Happy Endings, which is actually very good. You should check it out. *Note - Cougar Town HAS been picked up for another season (thank goodness!), but doesn't appear on the Fall 2011 lineup. Most likely will be swapped in after Suburgatory tanks. They SHOULD move Modern Family to 8:30 pm immediately after the Middle, put Cougar Town at 9, and then follow it with Happy Endings. Just saying.

    CBS Fall 2011 Primetime Schedule    
    Monday: How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-0
    Tuesday: NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Unforgettable
    Wednesday: Survivor: South Pacific, Criminal Minds, CSI
    Thursday: The Big Bang Theory, How To Be a Gentleman, Person of Interest, The Mentalist
    Friday: A Gifted Man, CSI: NY, Blue Bloods
    Saturday: Rules of Engagement, Comedy-time Saturday (encores of other CBS comedies), Crime-time Saturday, 48 Hours Mystery
    Sunday: 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, The Good Wife, CSI: Miami

    As usual, the network that needs the least help will have the least amount of new shows come Fall. That's CBS's honor once again this year. They'll continue to do fine with their procedurals. Jazzed that the awesome Hawaii Five-0 is back! ... If you aren't watching this, you're stupid. It's the procedural for those of us that don't have time for procedurals and just want a car chase and someone thrown through a window every 15 minutes. Brilliance! Plus, CBS's most noteworthy NEW entry is 2 Broke Girls, also on Mondays. A comedy with Kat Dennings, who I love like cold ice-cream on a hot Christmas morning. For that alone, I will watch.

    NBC Fall 2011 Primetime Schedule

    Monday: The Sing-Off, The Playboy Club
    Tuesday: The Biggest Loser, Parenthood
    Wednesday: Up All Night, Free Agents, Harry's Law, Law & Order: SVU
    Thursday: Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Whitney, Prime Suspect
    Friday: Chuck, Grimm, Dateline NBC
    Saturday: Encore programming
    Sunday: Football Night in America, NBC Sunday Night Football

    NBC Midseason 2012 Highlights

    Sunday: Dateline NBC, The Celebrity Apprentice, The Firm
    Monday: The Voice, Smash

    Nothing NEW to care about on NBC. We've already heard The Voice. The new Grimm could be good. Detectives hunting down supernatural storybook monsters ... but it's trapped there on a Friday night, making the show's OUTLOOK pretty grim. The Playboy Club? A drama set in the 60's just like ABC's Pan Am, only this show DOESN'T have Christina Ricci. Fail. *Please note - 30 Rock IS returning to NBC, although not listed above ... hopefully after the flop of Whitney, starring Whitney Cummings who is as grating as she is unfunny. **Also note - Outsourced is NOT returning, which I'm pissed about, and the much talked about, action drama Wonder Woman was ultimately NOT picked up by NBC. So those of you who were anxiously awaiting that? - You were just spared cuz it was gonna suck anyway. Good to see the ol' Peacock learned its lesson after The Bionic Woman.

    FOX Fall 2011 Primetime Schedule

    Monday: Terra Nova, House
    Tuesday: Glee, New Girl (wt), Raising Hope
    Wednesday: The X Factor Performance Show, I Hate My Teenage Daughter (wt)
    Thursday: The X Factor Results Show, Bones
    Friday: Kitchen Nightmares, Fringe
    Saturday: Cops, Cops, Encores/America's Most Wanted (specials)
    Sunday: The OT (NFL post-game), The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, Allen Gregory, Family Guy, American Dad

    FOX Midseason 2012 Primetime Schedule

    Monday: House, Alcatraz
    Tuesday: Glee, New Girl (wt), Raising Hope
    Wednesday: American Idol Performance Show, I Hate My Teenage Daughter (wt)
    Thursday: American Idol Results Show, The Finder/Bones (spring)
    Friday: Kitchen Nightmares, Fringe
    Saturday: Cops, Cops, Encores/America's Most Wanted
    Sunday: Animation Domination (encores), The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, Napoleon Dynamite, Family Guy, Bob's Burgers

    Fox's Terra Nova might be something, although it was supposed to be out THIS year. Quite often, delayed shows illustrate WHY when you actually watch them. But ... with Fox, you never know. Nova's big and actiony, so I'm down to take a look. X-Factor will be huge, and the new Napoleon Dynamite on Sunday looks promising, with the film's original cast doing the voices as an added plus. I'm guessing a "miss" with Alcatraz. Without another cop-like shows to pair it with, it's all alone out there. Remember The Chicago Code this season? Yeah, neither does anyone else. There's a Kiefer Sutherland drama called Touch that's in development for mid-season, but, again, knowing Fox, we won't see it till Fall 2012.

    And last, but certainly not least ... (unless you are talking about actual HOURS of Prime ... or Network ratings, then Yes. It IS least)

    The CW Fall 2011 Primetime Schedule

    Monday: Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie
    Tuesday: 90210, Ringer
    Wednesday: H8R, America's Next Top Model
    Thursday: The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle
    Friday: Nikita, Supernatural

    Oh, CW. It retooled almost 50% of it's prime lineup, which is fine, and I'm actually impressed overall.  The Secret Circle, about teen witches, pairs up with the CW hit Vampire Diaries better than Nikita did, so it should benefit from that. Nikita & Supernatural don't do anything for each other on Fridays, but at least Supernatral (one of the best written shows on television - check it out and you'll see) has it's same timeslot from last year, which is ... better than nothing. But what CW REALLY did right? - The return of Sarah Michelle Gellar in the action-esque - Ringer, as well as the addition of Rachel Bilson to the CW family in the new drama Hart of Dixie. Very smart moves.

    Now if they could only straighten up their senseless scheduling ...
    Forget it. I'll do it ...

    EJ’s “Cleaned UP” CW Fall 2011 Primetime Schedule

    Monday: Gossip Girl, 90210
    Tuesday: Ringer, Nikita
    Wednesday: H8R, America's Next Top Model
    Thursday: The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle
    Friday: Hart of Dixie, Supernatural

    They should leave at least ONE night intact from the previous season, and keeping Gossip Girl and 90210 together on Mondays makes as much sense as Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle. Ringer with SMG on Tuesday pairs the best with Nikita. Wednesday and Thursday are fine. And Heart of Dixie? Well it'll probably do the same number wherever you put it, and Friday at 8 will get that young female audience that is home watching TV at that hour anyway.

    Your welcome.

    Thanks to Cynthia Turner's Cynopsis Upfront 2011 Report for providing this info. You can read more in depth about these networks, all the new programs, as well as the new shows on Cable, by clicking the link provided.

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Best. Cameo. Ever!

    Ahhh, May. The month of the broadcast net's season finales. All the majors usually attempt to 'go big' before going home for the summer, and last night was FOX's Animation Domination's turn up at bat.

    The Simpsons, unfortunately showing it's age, was the weakest entry of the night with a roundabout story of each family member having fun with random keys they discovered stashed away over the years. American Dad was better, although not great ... "solid" at best, with a sendup of NBC's The Office, centered around Stan's job at the C.I.A., coupled with the "complexities" of Francine suddenly invading his work environment. Family Guy's "Lois & Bonnie Trip to Paris" was pretty good, but they should have closed out the season with last week's AWESOME "Brian & Stewie Time Travel" ep. The best of the batch, with an OUTSTANDING finale which only further illustrated how this spinoff has come into it's own, was The Cleveland Show.

    Next-door neighbor Tim the Bear is my favorite character, but I didn't miss him at all as this episode featured only the main family and their trip to the San Diego Comic Con. Initially only traveling there for Cleveland to push his self produced comic book "Waderman", he and Donna find themselves on a HYSTERICAL venture trying to stop Robert Rodriguez (yes, THAT Robert Rodriguez) from promoting a Blacksploitation film Donna had starred in during her youth called 'Hot Cocoa Bang Bang'. Amazing!

    And what's a big story without a big cast of cameos? The guest stars rolled out for the finale included Robert Rodriguez, (naturally), Eliza Dushku, Danny Trejo, Mark Hamill, Emily Deschanel, and Jamie Kennedy to name a few. But of course, the GREATEST special, and totally unexpected, appearance of the night went to The Simpsons' own Comic Book Guy, offering Cleveland a completely fitting and hilariously scathing review of Waderman.

    Ahhh. So satisfying. I don't even need to say it .... It IS in the article title, after all :)

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Smallville Finale - a Super disappointment?

    Whether you never watched it before, were riding with the show for the 1st couple seasons and just gave up, or somehow stuck it out to the end, like me, most people couldn't help but know that Smallville, the longtime CW drama about a young Clark Kent before he became Superman, came to a close with its 2 hour series finale last night.

    For those that DIDN'T tune in, but are curious enough to wonder, all I can say is ... they tried. The episode started with Chloe, played by the undeniable Allison Mack, telling the tale of "Smallville" to her son, 7 years in the future. With the ep that followed then being a flashback of her story, we know then that at least SHE survives, but it then makes us wonder if "Chloe" was ever actually part of the real saga at all.

    The rest of the finale involved Clark and Lois both flip-flopping about their decision to walk down the aisle together, the resurrection of Lex Luthor, and the final battle with ultimate Superman villain - Darkseid. A good finale often aims to wrap up lingering questions, and tries to deliver it all to you with a final bang. Smallville did just that, only the sound of their "bang" was muffled by the mess of everything else.

    Here's what they did right:

    The Return of Lex
    Michael Rosenbaum's Lex Luthor has been one of Smallville's secret weapons from the start. Resurrecting Superman's arch-nemesis (even as shabbily a cop-out as a "clone") was necessary to wrap things up. The ep "explains" why Lex has no memory of growing up in Smallville with Clark, Lionel Luthor, etc., and they also show the evolution of "Luthor Corp" to "Lex Corp".

    The Return of Jonathan Kent
    As the ghost of Clark's late father who died several season's back, John Schneider's Papa Kent got a lot of screen time as the figurative and literal guiding spirit for Clark this ep. Their relationship has made for some of the most powerful and heartfelt moments throughout the run of the series, and it was extremely poetic (even close to tear-jerking) to have him there as the father finally giving his son his blessings to becoming a man embracing his destiny, and ultimately passing him the iconic Superman suit to wear for the very 1st time. Perfect.

    The Daily Planet
    We got to see the evolution of the "major metropolitan newspaper" to be run by Editor-in-Chief Perry White, the return of Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olsen (the younger brother of the Jimmy Olsen that was killed by Doomsday 2 seasons ago ... but for some reason has the same name ...), and Erica Durance's Lois Lane growing from the small-time journalist to the star field reporter. It gave it all a tight sense of the Superman legacy that we knew.

    Here's what they did wrong:

    No Lana Lang
    If you needed a "reason" to watch Smallville, the smoking hot Kristen Kreuk was always it. Her final departure from the show as Lana, although one of the finest scenes in Smallville history, was extremely regrettable, but you figure with a 2 hour series finale, they could somehow work her into the story for one last goodbye? Nope! We were very much cheated.

    No Anybody ELSE!!
    Not only was there no Lana, there were no cameos by any other significant characters that appeared during the run of the show. Was hoping they could somehow dig up childhood friend Pete, played by Sam Jones III ... afterall, it was Clark's wedding, right? No such luck. And the no-shows didn't stop there. None of Clark's other Super-friends appeared - Zatanna, Impulse, Cyborg, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, Auqaman ... NOBODY. There was also an "end of the world" backdrop to the show where Lois pleaded with the President and State Secretary to give Earth's heroes a chance to save the world. Ok ... So where the hell WERE they?!

    Darkseid - lamest Big Bad EVER
    The whole season was sorta a drawn out *yawn*. They scarcely showed a fully fleshed out Master of Apokolips, and when they FINALLY did give him "physical form", it was just in the form of a possessed, zombie looking, Lionel Luthor. Lame. Even lamer? - Clark defeats him by just flying right through him and breaking him apart. Really? That was it? Ok. "Clark finally FLEW", which was supposed to be the big take away, but that's the fight the season built up to? And then the ultimate resolution - Clark flying into the sky and pushing the Planet Apokolips back into space ... uhg. Yawning about THAT would even be a waste of a good *yawn*.

    Lack of Commitment to the Franchise 
    They deliberately refused showing us Tom Welling dressed as Superman. They showed distance shots of "Superman flying" ... close up shots of his face, with the red cape flowing in the back ... and at the end, him running, taking of the glasses, and ripping his shirt to show the Super "S" ... but no straight up shot with him in full uniform. This can't be an accident. I'm guessing Trademark and Licensing constraints were to blame, what with the NEW Superman film coming out soon. Lame.

    It didn't stop there. Clark and Lois's wedding was interrupted. Ok, fine. But we see 7 years later and they still aren't married. They are TALKING about tying the knot that DAY, but once again, Clark is forced to rush off to save people in need. Really?

    Clark never actually takes on the name "Superman". By the end of the episode nobody has said it or called Clark by the name, even ONCE. T&L again?

    Chloe has a son, but they refuse to say Oliver, aka Green Arrow, played by Justin Hartley, is the father, even though they try to elude to it by showing that the kid has a bow & arrow set in his room ... "just like his dad"? Shame on you for that, Smallville.

    Whatevz. It's over now. And for all of the good and bad, regardless ... this show will definitely be missed. I offer a sincere and appreciative Thank You, Smallville, for all 10 seasons.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Batman gets his Ass Kicked ... in Vegas

    There's just something hilarious about costumed characters getting their asses handed to them ... From clowns to mascots (my personal faves), watching people forced to switch modes from light-hearted, "let's have fun" to suddenly super serious, "Please let me make it home in one piece today" - is just one of the most enjoyable things ever!

    Someone should have warned this man on the Vegas strip that just because you DRESS UP as The Dark Knight, doesn't mean you can now fight like him ... But then sometimes the most meaningful of life lessons need to be taught to you in front of dozens of gawking spectators ...

    Thanks, once again, goes out to my boy OC for uncovering this!
    I love how the people watching don't know what to make of it at first. Is it all part of some show or is this an actual fight going down? That question is answered pretty quickly as with a NEW twist - the bystanders and cops have to come to the HERO's rescue.

    Little known fact - the one and only Abe Simpson once moonlighted as a costumed vigilante! Remember how THAT turned out?

    And then, of course, all that remains is the post-fight interview of the assailant ...

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    It's never too early for Halloween fun :)

    Ghosts are fun. Pranks are fun. Pranks involving Ghosts, on unsuspecting people (adults that ideally should know better) are the most fun EVER! Halloween is about 6 months away, but it's never too soon to start scaring the shit stuffing outa people ... and then posting it online for the WORLD to appreciate.

    Thanks to OC for sharing this one!

    I liked it so much, it made me also want to throw in one of my personal faves that you may or may not remember from a while back. (it starts about 30 seconds in) Enjoy!

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Man, this Bitch can MOVE!

    Along the travels of everyday life, one can happen upon some amazing things. Even if you DON'T physically travel much, per se, don't sweat it - watching TV and surfing the Internet counts as "traveling" too. So by now we're USED to seeing folks offer up Pets that can do incredible things - Surf, Skateboard, Water-ski, Dunk a basketball ... the list goes on.

    That being said, you've NEVER seen a Dancing Dog like this! (unless you already have) This Prancing Pooch can Merengue with the best of them, and you'll scratch your head right down to the bone trying to figure out how they trained a Retriever to bring home a Golden performance like this! If you like dogs, dancing, or just thinking "WTF?" while grinning ear to ear - then you're gonna LOVE this!

    Thanks, Yoko, for sharing!